The Wildcats will drag their weary bodies from Auckland back to Perth buoyed that history and home court advantage are on their side in the NBL final series decider against the New Zealand Breakers.
The teams who have shared the last six titles between them will duke it out for more silverware on Sunday after the Breakers levelled a suffocating series 1-1 with a 72-68 win.
All six clashes this season have been won by the home side and history shows that when air travel is involved, the winning team from game one of a final series wins the championship more than 90 per cent of the time.
Perth coach Trevor Gleeson didn’t regard the loss in Auckland as any sort of momentum swing against his side.
He praised their fightback after trailing 9-0 in the opening minutes but says they can’t afford to dig the same hole in Perth.
“The good thing is our character. We shouldn’t have been in the game at all and it was our hustle and will to win which kept us in there.”
Captain Damian Martin was a key figure in game one with his defensive prowess.
He doesn’t care who does it but admits somebody will need to stand up and be counted when Sunday’s game enters its death throes if they are to extend their record number of NBL titles to seven.
It was the Breakers’ strangling defence which held sway on Friday.
“It was a game of runs between two good defensive teams and they made the last run. But at 61-all, we were feeling pretty confident,” he said.
“The series is going to boil down to a possession game.”
After a quiet game one, Jermaine Beal was closer to his best with a game-high 20 points, something Gleeson says shows the US guard is building confidence at a crucial time.